China’s mountainous areas explore new ways to generate wealth through green assets – SHINE


Farmers in Jinzhai County, Anhui Province, harvest tea in May this year.

After receiving a notice to move out of the mountains of Yuexi County in east China’s Anhui Province where he has lived for decades, Zhang Zeren, although a little reluctantly, decided to comply.

A biodiversity conservation center is to be built in this place and a high-end ecological health and wellness industry will be developed based on the conservation center.

“Utilizing the green resources while protecting them rather than leaving them hidden deep in the mountains is an excellent approach,” said Zhang, a forest ranger.

Yuexi County, which is located in the Dabie Mountains, one of China’s poorest areas in the past, is emblematic of this region’s progress in exploring economic development by utilizing green resources after bidding farewell to poverty.

Green is gold

During the previous spring tea harvest season, the green tea from the 220-hectare organic tea garden in Yuexi’s Shifo Village snapped up twice the price of ordinary tea leaves.

“The tea industry is the pillar industry that has helped us eliminate poverty and is now helping us achieve prosperity,” said Wang Jun, Party secretary of the village.

Thanks to the favorable ecological environment of the nature reserve, the tea produced in Shifo has secured both organic and green certifications and geographical indications, making the tea more profitable.

It also developed ecological tourism based on the tea industry, attracting tens of thousands of tourists each year.

In 2021, Shifo Village’s average household income from tea harvest exceeded 30,000 yuan (US$4,483) and the village’s collective economic income reached nearly 500,000 yuan.

In recent years, counties located in the Dabie Mountains including Yuexi, Huoshan and Jinzhai have successively become the practice and innovation base for the “two mountains” concept, according to which “lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets.”

Guided by this concept, different areas in the Dabie Mountains are exploring the new path of green development based on their local realities.

In Sanhe Village of Huoshan County, an important dendrobium production area, a young man named Liu Bo has established a cultivation base of this Chinese herbal medicine and growing it in isolated stone areas.

Currently, each dendrobium is sold for 200 yuan, which means a large stone with some 100 dendrobiums is worth about 20,000 yuan.

“Chinese herbal medicines, including dendrobiums, have high environmental requirements for growth. As a result of Huoshan’s improving ecological environment, those stones that were once discarded have become a source of income,” Liu said.

In recent years, people in the Dabie Mountains have continued to transform ecological resources into wealth. In 2021, the output …….